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Why Accountants Don't Embrace SEO

     -     Jan 18th, 2011   -     Accounting Marketing   -     2 Comments

Inbound marketing and more specifically search engine optimization (SEO) is a new area of marketing and business development that many CPA and accounting firms have not yet embraced. Generally speaking the marketing professional is apprehensive (in most cases, not all) to investigate this new method because either they don’t understand what is fully involved or don’t believe the partner group will lend their support to such an endeavor. Unfortunately, the latter is most often the case. As a result, we thought it would be very useful to start a conversation on why CPA and accounting firms are apprehensive to embrace SEO as part of their accounting marketing strategy.

Top Reasons CPA Firms Don’t Embrace SEO.

Of course there are several reasons that the accounting profession has not embraced this method, but our experience reveals 4 primary reasons for the avoidance including:

  • Accounting is a Relationship Sale. How can Search Engine Marketing (SEM) effort possibly act as the catalyst for a long and profitable business relationship? This is an objection that I have heard directly and many peers in the industry have shared as a common reason for why inbound marketing and SEO are not seriously pursued. The reality is that these tactics embrace new core concepts. The first is that more and more Americans are turning to the Internet as an information source for learning about and obtaining additional information on services and service providers. This is true across all industries. Second, SEO and inbound marketing DO NOT replace the professional service firm relationship! Rather it is a new method to bring prospects to the firm. Once you have an interested prospect, the method for how they got to the firm is meaningless. They have progressed to another part of the sales cycle.
  • No Past Record of Success. “We have never gotten leads from the website before.”  This is my favorite because it uses the past as justification for why an inbound marketing and SEO effort will not work in the future. The reason the firm has never gotten any leads from the website in the past is because there was not a planned effort to make the website a lead generation tool. In the past websites have been used as online brochures. This has changed, but most firms don’t understand the distinction.
  • Websites Leads are Poor. Many partners in accounting firms believe the leads that come through the website will poor or of low quality. “These prospects are just price shopping and are not serious,” said a partner in a client firm. Of course there will be prospects that are price shopping , but that is part of the process. However, as the effort becomes more refined there will be other prospects looking for services that are not price shopping. We have seen examples of firms receiving several international tax leads through their website which have results in $15K plus in revenues.
  • New Method. Since this is a new method of marketing and lead generation many are apprehensive to embrace it because they do not understand it. While there is a lot of information in the market about aspects of inbound marketing and SEO, there is not one easy to read guide on the process and how to effectively implement it at a CPA and accounting firm. As a result, many professionals (marketing and accouting) know it is out there, but do not participate because they do not fully understand it. As one of my clients told me once, “If it is not broke don’t fix it!” Unfortunately, this approach prevents many in the industry from embracing new approaches.

Share Your Accounting Marketing Experience.

We would like to hear from others in the accounting marketing profession to learn why they have or have not embraced inbound marketing and SEO. What have your experiences been?


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